Wednesday 28th November, 2007
I love the way that, every once in a while, a Front Page topic just falls right into place. That's what happened this week.
Right now, in the most important thread on the board, we're talking about how to get young people into fishing/fly fishing. Last weekend I saw how to do it first hand while fishing with my friend Steve, and his son Gavin. We landed a few salmon that day, but best of all I got to watch a proud father fishing and sharing his passion for the outdoors with his son. Steve's excitement for fishing is contagious, and Gavin is already a fairly accomplished angler at the ripe old age of nine. You can see the excitement in his eyes. The best part was that every time we stopped at a new run or pool it seemed like Steve had another story about Gavin and a steelhead that happened in that very spot.
Fortunately for most of us, getting a kid into fishing isn't nearly as hard as catching a steelhead. If you have a son or daughter, plan a trip with them. Maybe a buddy who doesn't fish has a kid who wants to try. How old do they have to be? I had a flyrod in my hand when I was seven, and dunked my first nightcrawler before that. Just be patient and remember that fishing isn't just about catching. For kids everything is about fun. Fishing is no different. It's about bugs and tadpoles, eagles, playing in the mud, hot cocoa, and homemade sandwiches too.
Getting the younger generations into fishing and the outdoor pursuits is important stuff for a load of reasons. Here's a few that I can think of...
Reason 1: Now, more than ever, young people need active, inspiring, and constructive ways to spend their free time. Fishing is loads more fun than video games and text messaging between fast food cheeseburgers. And better exercise, too. Especially so when you include a nice hike or mountain bike ride on the way to Mystery Lake X. Maybe I'm off target here, but I think my life is great because of, and in addition to fishing. I'm glad that my folks got me interested in nature and the outdoors and took me traveling and fishing when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure there are other kids out there right now who would think the same thing if given a chance.
Reason 2: An unavoidable side effect of loving to fish is loving the fish and the rivers too. Many of tomorrow's anglers will also be tomorrow's conservationists, preservationists, and activists. We need people who care enough about the natural world to fight to keep some of it around to enjoy. In addition, anglers license dollars are often used toward habitat preservation and restoration. The more anglers there are, the more funds there will be, and the more we can do.
Reason 3: When we're old, we're going to need someone to row the driftboat for us and tie us more #20 Parachute Adams. I think my dad thought of this one about 25 years ago. I'm glad he did.
There are more reasons for sure, but I'm out of time for this week. Join the discussion on the board and share your reasons, ideas, and stories of getting young people involved in fishing.